skin check, spot melanoma, help prevent skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of malignancy in the US. Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma by the age of 65. (Melanoma is less common but much more dangerous.) Many people would be as surprised as one reader was to learn that taking a simple nontoxic vitamin could help prevent skin cancer.

A Vitamin to Help Prevent Skin Cancer:

Q. As a middle-aged, fair-skinned redhead, I have had several run-ins with precancerous and basal skin cell cancers. I see my dermatologist every 6 months, and usually have many ‘rough’ precancerous spots ‘burned’ off, particularly from the back of my hands.

My friend’s son lives in Australia, and she told me about studies there showing niacinamide supplements reduce the incidence of precancerous cell growth. My dermatologist wasn’t really familiar with these studies, but said it can’t hurt to try.

I’ve been taking 500 mg of niacinamide supplements daily for the past year, and have had zero recurrence of these rough spots on my hands. It has been a truly remarkable change for me. Have you heard anything about taking niacinamide to prevent some skin cancers?

Australian Research Shows Niacinamide Can Help Prevent Skin Cancer:

A. Your friend is right that Australian dermatologists and scientists have done most of the studies in this arena. We described such a study that made headlines in 2015.

One recent review of the research concludes that nicotinamide (another name for niacinamide) holds promise for preventing both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (Minocha, Damian & Halliday, Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine, online July 5, 2017).  Another summary concludes that nicotinamide acts in several ways to reduce actinic keratoses (your rough spots) and nonmelanoma skin cancers (Damian, Australasian Journal of Dermatology, Aug. 2017).  Thank you for letting us know of your success.

People concerned about skin cancer may also want to discuss blood pressure medicine with their physicians. A recent Danish study suggested that people who take hydrochlorothiazide, a common drug to treat hypertension, are more likely to develop non-melanoma skin cancer.

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  1. Jim

    I am an 84 year old male, former redhead, who lived most of his early life in Florida, but always a lover of the outdoors in the sun. I have had 21 basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas with increasing numbers as I have aged (4 squamous cell in 2017 with the last in November 2017, one which was a very fast growing and large).

    My new dermatologist suggested at that time to take 500 mg niacinamide twice daily. and to have exams every 4 months. I am using UPF 30- 50 skin lotions and am wearing UPF 40 and 50 shirts exclusively in the spring and summer months when in the sun. I am still in the sun daily in my gardens. In these 6+ months I have had no new cancers. I am pleased, obviously.

  2. tom

    How is niacinamide different from niacin ? What is the difference between slow release niacin & regular ? What about “no flush” niacin ? I heard that regular niacin could be fatal if you have a heart attach.

    Thanks, TD

  3. Paul P.

    I think we are living in an age where the need to produce words to fill the pages and air waves is causing a massive overdose of many , many pages or hours of verbage filling our daily reading and listening but containing precious little substance. Lead-ins suggesting that what is about to be printed or otherwise told to us is exciting, new or is must reading/hearing are far too common and finding substance has become the exception rather than what now defines our daily intake of fluff. Seems a bit like consumption of foods laden with calories but little nutritional value or substance. Or even counterfeit money presented as worthy but worthless.

    How does this ever end?

  4. Sarah
    Florida, USA

    The SUN does the damage. I grew up 9° above the equator, in Panama R.P. then we moved to Florida. Thank you for this article. I will start taking Niacinamide and cease the hydrochlorazide. I am 63 years old. My brother died of Melanoma at age 66.

  5. rik
    dallas tx

    To all readers,
    please consider all the benefits to putting “generic listerine” with its’ 4 anti-fungal ingredients in a spray bottle. Asmatics, nurseries etc. could /would benefit from such a safe & harmless spray for many uses besides just as an oral hygiene. Hands to toilet seats. No harsh chemicals !
    Thank you, Rik.

  6. Penelope

    even if you lather sunscreen all over, it’s going to be washed off the back of your hands. And look at the exposure your hands have while driving. I wear gloves whenever driving in the daytime. Looks silly, but who cares?

  7. Abigail

    How , for the purposes of treating these skin conditions, does Niacinamide differ from Niacin? I have Niacin on hand. Can I use Niacin instead?

    • Terry Graedon

      Hi Abigail. Niacin comes in three forms: niacinamide (aka nicotinamide), inositol nicotinate and nicotinic acid. The label should tell you which it is. Nicotinic acid is what people take to lower cholesterol. It usually produces flushing.

      If your niacin doesn’t cause flushing, it is probably niacinamide.

  8. Jesse

    How much nicotinaminde was given in the study to prevent skin cancer?

  9. Carol

    I think that sugar in the diet weakens the whole body. And, I think that it is a large cause of the alarming rise in skin cancer. Healthy older adults have less brown spots on there skin. I think that those brown aging spots are largely a result of a sugar diet.

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